From time to time we meet extraordinary people that are making big change in peoples lives everyday. One of them is Kevin Colussi who’s the CEO of GiveDirect which is a project that can help you Send money directly to people living in extreme poverty.
Below are some aswers that we managed to get from him directly :
1- So! Kevin why won’t you present yourself to our readers?
Well… I currently live in Montana, USA with my wife and youngest of 3 children. After graduating university in 1995 and working with different companies from fortune 100’s and non-profits to educational institutions, as a Software Engineer (focusing on security and cryptography)… I decided to use all my knowledge, skills and time to solve what I call the worlds BFP’s (Big Fucking Problems); of which extreme poverty is one. I love to volunteer, be outdoors and spend time with my family and friends.
2- When was the first time that you felt that unselfish urge to help others?
Wow.. Hadn’t really thought of that question before… I like it… Growing up, my grandparents from as far back as I can remember, lived with us… both of them on my mom’s side. They were both legally blind and when they reached their 80’s; I was doing more than just reading soup labels for them. I saw my mom work really hard to help them through difficult times, and the comfort she felt in her heart after they passed; and I wanted that same feeling. So I guess you can say helping others has just always been there, it’s in my blood, it’s who I am.
3- Can you give us an idea about your project, GiveDirect and how it can help literally change the world?
As the founder and CEO of GiveDirect which is a basic income project working in Northern Ghana. We’ve to date distributed 9 months of basic income ($160 USD / mo), to help about 240 people living in extreme poverty which is defined by living on less than a $1.90/day; > 700 million live in Extreme Poverty globally. The people we serve live on 15-35 cents/day, in neighboring villages around the city of Tamale, Ghana. What makes our project special and life changing is the direct giving and transparency. Not only can we track donations from our donors to our lady head of households who receive the donations, but every stop in between; then we make the videos on the ground showing the impact of the donations. You see we take an À la carte approach to charitable giving where donors give to the area in the project they want funded. For example if you want to give Basic Income, you donate to the Basic Income GiveDirect Paywall (multi-signature escrow account that holds donations securely until they are needed); if you want to see YouTube videos from the project on the ground, you donate to the Communication GiveDirect Paywall; if you want to fund free condoms to our households, you donate to the GiveDirect Condom Paywall… There is no GiveDirect Paywall for overhead, staffing, advertising, etc; because we believe every dollar should go to the cause our donors want and our team of volunteers that run the project share these same beliefs. I have to say it here, our team is a like minded, well oiled machine with the biggest hearts out there… I’m both honored and humbled that they allow me to lead the project.
4- How did you come up with the idea?
When Crypto 2.0 and Blockchain technology really hit a few years ago, I made the transition pretty easily, because I was use to building backend systems that used public / private key cryptography as I had done over the past 20+ years; well before digital currency was cool. Blockchain technology was just an extension of my existing knowledge, so no one had to convince me it was secure and nonreputable. I waited for blockchain ledgers to evolve to a point that I considered stable, then formed a killer team to implement a remittance solution for those suffering from extreme poverty, because I was tired of NGO’s taking a portion of the donations they receive to provide jobs, pay for advertising, conferences, buildings, etc when those funds were desperately needed by those in need. I’m not saying NGO’s don’t do good, because they do great things… I’m saying even the best charities rated by the site Charity Navigator have numbers like this: Donation 331.5M, 38.8M in overhead expenses… We can do better and increase transparency with blockchain technology. GiveDirect owns the mission of “Building the best blockchain direct giving solution to end global extreme poverty”, but we are here to change the charitable giving world too!
5- Many people are talking about blockchain, the technology used in GiveDirect, from a perspective of earning money, what made you see it as a technology to give money?
I’m not a fan of the corporate world I once worked in… I feel they hold society back in a lot of ways… When I saw the Stellar Blockchain execute transactions in 3-5 sec for a fraction of a cent, as opposed to big banks taking 3-5%… I imagined a financial system “of the people, by the people and for the people” where those who did the work, got the rewards. This is the system I architected, my team built and we use; it’s called the GiveDirect Platform and it runs on the Stellar Blockchain.
6- If someone wants to get involved with you project how can he/she do that?
The best way to get involved is to join us on our Discord (community chat server) by clicking the “Get Involved” menu item on our site at http://givedirect.io or donate at http://go.givedirect.io
… Honestly the platform just works, we just need more wealth to redistribute. It makes me happy when I tell people I’m in the business of wealth redistribution…. It has a nice ring to it!
7- Any advices for youngsters who want to have a career while helping others?
This is a funny question, because it’s a lesson I often go over with my children at the dinner table… It goes like this… Don’t pick a major when you attend university, don’t even think of a career you want to do… Start with a BFP, identify what is needed to solve it… Then and only then, choose a career you would like and look at a actual job application for that career…. see what the requirements are… Then go study knowing there will be meaningful, honorable, honest work for you when you are done studying because BFP’s typically don’t get solved during one’s lifetime. Unless you are zippy like me, then just maybe.
If you are interested to help this cause please check GiveDirect website directly here.